Urban Scholars trains a diverse group of students for a future in public service

Minneapolis’ second class of Urban Scholars begins work today in 14 different City departments, developing leadership skills and learning about careers in government. The second-year program is a full-time paid internship experience that aims to help young people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds build their skills for the future, with a focus on careers in public service. The 12-week program runs through Aug. 9

This year’s 17 Urban Scholars were chosen from more than 135 applicants. The students selected are working in key areas of City government, and in the long run, the City hopes to develop a group of young talent who can begin careers in public service, and someday be the next generation of City leaders. The 17 Scholars are all Minneapolis residents, attending colleges across the country.

In addition to their work in City departments, the Urban Scholars will complete a team-based community project about Ranked Choice Voting that will be presented to government and community stakeholders. Throughout the summer, the Urban Scholars will also participate in roundtable discussions with Mayor R.T. Rybak, network with other elected officials and City leaders, take part in firefighter training, and hold a panel discussion with STEP-UP interns. The Shannon Leadership Institute will facilitate leadership skills development throughout the session and Toastmaster’s International has set up a special section specifically for Urban Scholars to develop their communication skills. 

Urban Scholars is one component of the Employment Equity Division of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights, which aims to close the employment gap in a city and metro area that suffers from one of the highest disparities between white and non-white unemployment in the country. While the City’s overall unemployment rate is 5 percent, unemployment among African Americans in Minneapolis is at 18 percent, and the unemployment rate for American Indians is 25 percent.

The Urban Scholars will be sharing their experiences all summer long on the new Urban Scholars blog.

More information about the program is also available on the Urban Scholars web page.

Published May 20, 2013